Columbia Property Trust Making Progress on Remaking Portfolio

Nelson Mills, president and CEO of Columbia Property Trust Inc. (NYSE: CXP), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview during REITWeek 2015: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.

Founded in 2003, Columbia Property Trust is one of the nation’s largest office REITs. The company listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2013.

Mills outlined the company’s efforts to remake its portfolio, which began about three years ago. He noted that Columbia switched from focusing on single-tenant to multitenant properties. At the same time, it sought to move from secondary to primary markets, with a goal of reducing the number of markets from 32 to 10 or 12. “Today we’re at 14 [markets], so we’ve made great progress along that path,” Mills said.

Turning to occupancy and rental trends, Mills observed that although the overall economy is improving, “it does vary quite a bit in each of our markets.”

San Francisco is Columbia’s largest market in terms of revenue, and market conditions there remain robust, according to Mills. Washington, D.C., the company’s second largest market, continues to struggle, Mills said. New supply is being absorbed slowly, but demand is showing signs of improvement, he added.

New York, meanwhile, continues to post solid results, according to Mills.

Mills observed that some of the company’s key leasing opportunities lie with the several value-add assets the company bought in the last couple of years. These are located in San Francisco, New York and Boston, Mills said, and present “significant” lease roll-up opportunities. “We’re experiencing great results there and we’re very excited about the near term prospects,” Mills said.